Steven Gerrard says the Liverpool U19s will have benefitted from their participation in a pre-season tournament in Switzerland ‘both mentally and physically’ after the young Reds side took on the likes of Hamburg, Basel and Juventus.
Gerrard’s side were beaten 3-1 by Fulham in the semi-finals but came through tests against some highly rated young teams, with a 2-0 win over Olympiacos and a 3-1 win over Juventus helping them on their way.
When asked about the benefits on partaking in the competition, Gerrard told Liverpoolfc.com:
“It’s a test physically, it’s a test mentally and we need to see what these lads are like when the pressure is on, when they are tired, and when they are asked to perform when they are out of their comfort zone.
“When you play at the highest level the most testing time is always in the last 30 minutes of games and we ask the lads: ‘Can you produce quality as a player when you are tired, when your body wants to give up and when you want to quit?’
“It’s tournaments like this that give you a flavour individually – both mentally and physically.
“You learn an awful lot about them, not just as footballers on the ball, but what they are like off the ball, what they are like around hotels, how they cope when you ask them to play minutes when they are tired.
“They get asked a lot of questions over two days and the majority of them have done really well.”
After good wins against some talented opposition in the early stages of the competition, Gerrard said it was disappointing to be knocked out by Fulham in semi-finals.
“We were disappointed to lose to Fulham in the semi-final.
“I thought in the first 45 minutes we showed them too much respect, but in the second 45 I thought we matched them all over the park and we probably edged the second half.
“The lesson to learn from that game is you can’t wait 45 minutes to go and match a team physically and mentally, so I think we lost that game in the first half.
“In the final game against Juventus we had to use our squad players and share the minutes out to give some of the players a game who haven’t played much over these couple of days.
“There was a lot of positives to take out of that game and it was a nice way to finish the tournament with a win, but we were disappointed with the Fulham result.”